With its 626 million people, ASEAN has the second-fastest growing economy in Asia, after China, with an average growth rate of 5.6 percent and a combined GDP of $2.4 trillion.
Along with agriculture and tourism, garment manufacturing has helped Cambodia’s economy to become one of the fastest growing in the region.
With the US-Cambodia relationship in the spotlight, VOA Khmer’s Neou Vannarin sat down for a comprehensive discussion on Wednesday with William A. Heidt, the American ambassador in Phnom Penh.
The US ambassador said Cambodia could consider joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a US-led trade pact that could open US markets further.
“If we can maintain a neutral stance and balance, we can gain from both sides,” says Chheang Vannarith, a lecturer in Asia-Pacific studies at Leeds University.
China also aims to boost the livelihood of Cambodians living in remote areas and provide scholarships for Cambodian university students.
The International Trade Union Confederation said that 166 million workers make up a “hidden workforce” earning trillions of dollars for big companies.
It is unclear exactly how Cambodia would benefit from the trade deal, which lowers tariffs on agricultural and industrial goods between its adherents.
About 70 percent of those fines have come from traffic checkpoints, according to the ministries of Interior and Finance.
A recent report from the International Trade Union Confederation reveals that 50 of the world’s largest companies depend on a “hidden workforce” to provide 94 percent of the labor from which they profit.
The main purpose of Kerry’s visit was to discuss an upcoming US-Asean meeting in California next month, which will include a lot of discussion on trade.
Hun Sen had asked that Cambodia be producing 1 million tons of rice for export by 2015, but the country is meeting only half that goal.